Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Giddy with Glee: Crisp Salted Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

I'm not sure whether I'm pessimistic or just realistic, but I generally tend to keep my expectations pretty low.  I find that it leads to less disappointment and leaves plenty of room for me to be pleasantly surprised.  For example, I was expecting the season finale of Glee last night to be a train wreck.  And while it was uneven and a little predictable (Liko called every plot twist, down to their dialogue), there were still some surprises, like having the glee club performing at Regionals (which was supposed to be the big event of the night) before the first commercial break.  Or, having the scenes of Quinn delivering her baby interspersed with the competing team's performance of "Bohemian Rhapsody", a sequence that was both bewildering and impressive.

However, I forgot all about keeping my expectations low when I saw the pictures of these cookies.  I daydreamed about eating these cookies all day at work yesterday before rushing home to make them.  After reading the description of the cookies (they may or may not have involved the words, "scandalously good") and all the comments from the people who made them and were awestruck by their glory, I was expecting nothing short of transcendence from these cookies. Unfortunately, these cookies fell a little short of those expectations.  The thing is, I know that my disappointment can mostly be chalked up to my expectations being unrealistic.  If I went into it having low expectations, I probably would have found them transcendent.
Furthermore, I thought these cookies would be entirely hollow, which was intriguing enough for me to move the cookies to the top of my must-do list, but my cookies spread during baking, flattening them out a bit (though they did have some "bubbles" here and there that lended the cookies the same "shatter-y" effect in the recipe description).

Of course, the disappointment could also be attributed to the fact that I do not follow directions.  Instead of using the white chocolate chunks so highly recommended, I used semi-sweet chips.  Instead of fleur de sel, I used course sea salt (because if you think I can afford fleur de sel, you are nuts).  While I'm at it, let me tell you that the size of these cookies are imperative to their outcome.  While I initially followed the directions to make the cookies using two tablespoons of dough, I later tried to make smaller cookies that were half the size, and they were definitely not the same.  Lesson of the day: follow directions.

So while these cookies aren't exactly the Second Coming, they aren't boring or ordinary either.  The truth is, once I got over my initial disappointment, I realized that these are still the best oatmeal cookies I have ever eaten.  They're the perfect combination of crisp and chewy, sweet and salty.  I brought about 30 of them in to work today and they were all gone by the time I got back from my lunch break, which is pretty impressive when you consider that I work in a pretty small office.  Now that I think about it, I suspect that our summer intern single-handedly ate half the plate.  Not that I'm complaining - these cookies are dangerous to have around the house. 

Crisp Salted Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

1 cup flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon table salt
14 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cup rolled oats (do not substitute with instant oats)
6 oz semisweet chocolate chips
sea salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a silpat mat.

Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.

In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add egg and vanilla, and beat until combined.  Add flour mixture gradually and mix until incorporated.  Gradually add oats and chocolate; mix until well incorporated.

Roll dough into 2-tablespoon-balls.  Place 2 1/2 inches apart on the cookie sheet.  Gently press to 3/4 inches thick.  Sprinkle salt on each cookie.  Bake for 13-16 minutes, rotating halfway.  Cool on a wire rack until room temperature.